Thursday, 30 July 2015

Lionheart

I have never understood the mentality of anyone who enjoys to kill for sport. This practice is an archaic form of entertainment the rich used to partake of centuries ago and it's worth bearing in mind that they were also keen on burning people at the stake, slavery, oppressing women, beating children... the point is there wasn't a lot to do back then and the devil makes work for idle hands.

But hey now we have the internet, we have accessible literature, we have MTV. If anything there is too much to do. There is no excuse to enjoy blood sports. It is cruel, senseless, and sick.

This is especially the case when you are killing endangered animals - animals that are on the brink of extinction because of us in the first place. The world's wildlife hangs in a delicate balance at the best of times and yet there are some of us who blatantly disregard and disrespect this for their own enjoyment. And I think that is what makes what has happened to Cecil the lion more outrageous. This was done by someone who just enjoys killing things. There's no reason to it, no excuse. "...an activity I love..." is how Walter Palmer describes his passion for murder.

The ivory trade is decimating elephant and rhino populations to a devastating extent but there's a logic behind these atrocities - money. And at the end of the day some of the people helping poachers are just poor natives, turning a blind eye for a payout that will provide for their families. It's not right, but it's at least understandable.

Walter Palmer though paid somewhere near $50,000 to actually go out and kill Cecil. $50,000. That's around £32,000 - more than the average annual salary for most Brits. When I heard about this I couldn't stop thinking about such a huge quantity of money being spent for such an act. Walter Palmer - a self-professed family man - used his enormous wealth to destroy something magnificent because that's the activity he loves.

It got me thinking about his profession too. As a dentist he will be aware of how expensive dental care is and how many in his country can't even afford to get care. I'm currently putting off a dental appointment myself until pay day - so how many more are unable to get serious treatment because they are in poverty? How much dental treatment would $50,000 buy? How much of a local hero would Walter Palmer have been if he'd decided to spend his "kill fund" on something that actually benefited the world?

Another news story this week was about 12 year old Matthew Flores from Utah who was so passionate about reading that he asked his mailman for junk mail because he couldn't afford books. Mailman Ron Lynch of course then went on to start a campaign for books for Matthew and now Matthew has been given more than 350 books probably the greatest gift any 12 year old could get. Just a little maths for you for $50,000 you could probably by a kid like Matthew more than 5,000 books.

Oh and unlike a dead lion a book can be enjoyed by an entire community over and over again because it's still here - for everyone, forever. Just a thought.